The St. Charles County Council opted to abide a committee recommendation to name the county’s newest park in honor of all local military veterans rather than Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip Vinnedge, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
The council voted 5-0 at its Jan. 29 meeting to name the 120-acre park under development at Kisker and Pitman roads “Veterans Tribute Park.” Councilmembers Joe Cronin [District 1] and Michael Klinghammer [District 6] were absent.
A nine-member committee of county representatives named by County Executive Steve Ehlmann last year made the recommendation.
Of the new name, Councilmember Mike Elam [District 3] said, “I think it’s something we’re looking at that honors all those who served so I’m in favor of this bill.” He previously noted, “Whenever you name a park you’re never going to make everyone happy.”
According to a news release issued by the county on Jan. 30, the county is finalizing plans for a veterans memorial garden at the park. Flags to honor the five branches of the armed services, along with plants and trees, will create a flowing pathway to a plaza where a flag will fly.
Ehlmann agreed last year that the committee should look at honoring veterans from various wars. He noted that the county has only a small statue outside its historic County Courthouse on Third Street in St. Charles that lists local veterans killed in World War I.
The 100th anniversary of World War I is in 2018 and preliminary plans call for moving the county’s monument to the park and incorporating it into the garden. Similar stone monuments will be created to recognize conflicts since World War I in which county veterans have served and given their lives. The monuments will border the pathway to the garden.
The new park is expected to be completed in 2018 and will include a walking and bicycle trail system, a destination playground for children of all abilities, two stocked lakes, an off-leash dog park, three open-play fields and a 100-person picnic shelter. An existing grain silo and a boardwalk associated with the previous property owner, the Sammelmann Farm and Homestead, will be integrated into the park’s design.
Construction costs are estimated at $7 million.